Guest Post By Lucy Griffiths
I’m going to let you into a secret, there is another way of working that works for mums, and I hope this will inspire you.
The old way of earning a living doesn’t work anymore. You don’t have to feel as though you are struggling to juggle children, home and work. There is another way for you to be fulfilled and rewarded, and be a fabulous mum.
Trying to manage deadlines and childcare and glide serenely into the office didn’t work for me, and I dreaded the race from home to nursery to work and back again. I found myself asking: there has to be a better way.
I quit my job in international news as a TV reporter, and stayed home, but I felt frustrated and was living in the shadow of my “former” life. I was no longer doing a job I loved. I had lost a big part of my identity. I wanted to make a contribution in the world – AND I wanted to be ‘Ben’s mum’.
I wanted to have a career that I was passionate about, and I wanted to be with my little bundle of snuggles. I had struggled enough to meet my Mr Wonderful, and then get pregnant, and I wanted to enjoy the time with our precious little miracle.
When I was on maternity leave, I had always promised my boss that I would go back to work. I had no idea how I would actually make the irregular hours, and the unpredictable working fit with the structured life at nursery. I dreaded how to juggle work and baby. I ummed and ahhed, and agonized over what to do, but once I made that call, and quit, the relief was spectacular!
Coaching is my passion, and it’s been the thing that I did on the side while working as a TV reporter. I did a Masters in Executive Coaching while I was working in Iraq (as you do). I knew that this is where I was meant to be. When I first gave birth, I didn’t feel confident enough to dive straight back into coaching people – sleepless nights and crazy hormones meant I gave myself a few months off.
I told my boss that I wasn’t going back to work, and I quit with no real idea what I was going to do, I just knew I had to make it bloody work! While I was on maternity leave, I made it my mission to create a business that worked for me and my family, and in the process I’ve created 5 different businesses.
Yes, I wanted to have it all, and I know we were told growing up that we could have it all (and yes, we thought they were lying) but actually it’s true, you can have a career you love, and be with your family when you choose to be. You just have to be smart about it, and be prepared to graft at odd hours to make it happen!
1) AIRBNB: We had a couple of long-term let flats that I converted into full-time Airbnb holiday rentals. When we set them up, I loved playing interior decorator and creating unique homes and spaces that generated a buzz on Airbnb. I quickly became a “superhost” and would do all the marketing, photos and manage the relationship with the guests. This business alone generates as much income for me as I would earn working two days a week in my previous role, and the great thing was that I was still able to be with my son all day, and my baby is usually a cute bonus for Airbnb guests.
2) HOMES UNDER THE HAMMER: Inspired by my breastfeeding /sofa ritual of watching Martin and Lucy on “Homes Under the Hammer”, I persuaded my husband and we bought a damp, unloved wreck of an flat at an auction, and spent the last year loving restoring the Victorian basement into a sleek modern Camden pad. We’ve just finished the renovation and its value has increased by over £200,000 – waaaaaay more than I would have earned being in my previous job.
3) AMAZON: I decided to get creative, and turn my hobby into a business. I created a small-scale jewellery business, and began selling it on Amazon and Etsy. I design the necklaces, and then outsource the making of them (beads and babies don’t really mix) them, and work with designers to create the packaging. It’s not a fortune but it’s a good steady stream of revenue that tops up my bank balance, and I love designing and creating. It’s a passion project that I get paid for!
4) COACHING: And finally, when I was ready and confident, I got back into the thing I’m most passionate about… coaching mums and helping them to create a business that works for them and their families. Now I get to make a difference in the world with my work, and still spend massive chunks of time with the little one, and help mums spend the time they crave with their kids, on their terms!
5) WRITING: I’ve been writing professionally for 20 years for magazines, radio, and TV, and I still do freelance work. Since quitting my full-time job, I’ve also been blogging, and it’s such a wonderful way to share your story. I’m writing here on one of the UK’s biggest blogs, and it’s testament to the success of writing down how you feel in compelling, thought-provoking ways.
So how do I fit five different businesses around little one? When you love what you do, and it’s YOUR BUSINESS, it’s so much easier to be motivated. I wake up at 5am to give myself time to crack on with work, I’m no-nonsense in my decision-making, my phone is my office, and nap times are guarded fiercely for work-time. I also find I have a no-bullshit approach to work that I didn’t have before I gave birth. Writing this I would have faffed about, Googled nonsense, and eaten my body weight in chocolate biscuits. Now I know that I have about 45 minutes to get it written, and it’s amazing how much more you get done!
It’s not always easy, and it’s definitely petrifying to quit, but life on the other side is so much more liberating!
If you’re a working mum, you don’t have to settle for a career that no works for your world – create a life and business that works for you. If I can do it, you most definitely can.
Lucy Griffiths is a former TV reporter and has swapped war zones for playgroups with her gorgeous toddler Ben. She has retrained as a success coach and helps mums quit the 9-5 and create their own dream business and life. She is the founder of Dream it, Do it, Love it. Make sure to follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+.
You can also join her Facebook group – The Mama Collective – which is for mums to support each other setting up their own business.